Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Minister Howlin has forgotten it was the people who elected him – Kelly

As Sinn Féin announces its intention to publish a household charge repeal bill today, Cllr Anthony Kelly has attacked Minister Brendan Howlin over comments he made regarding the controversial tax yesterday. Cllr Kelly said Minister Howlin's description of the household tax as being “a fair and a just imposition on people” showed that he was out of touch with public opinion and had forgotten that it was people opposing this charge who had elected him to government.

“Minister Brendan Howlin's comments regarding the household charge yesterday were ill-timed and out of touch with public opinion,” Cllr Kelly said. “As of yesterday only 360,000 homeowners had paid the controversial tax. Over 1.2 million citizens had chosen not to register with only three days to go to the deadline. To say that this tax is a fair and just imposition on people is a prime example of how far Minister Howlin is prepared to go to implement Fine Gael’s right wing policies.”

“Later today Sinn Féin spokesperson on local government Brian Stanley TD will be joined by party colleagues to announce details of the party's Local Government (Household Charge) (Repeal) Bill 2012. This will be another attempt by the party to have the tax abolished. Sinn Féin has put forward its alternatives to the household tax. We have consistently argued that those who can afford to pay more should do so.”

“Minister Howlin said yesterday that revenue raised from the tax was vital to fund local government but the truth is that funding that was available to local government up until now has been filtered into the bailout fund. If there is no money to fund local services it will be because our government decided to use it to pay off unsecured bondholders rather than because overstretched families were unable to pay a grossly unfair tax.”

“Yesterdays comments from Minister Howlin were just one in a line of carefully managed diktats coming out from government reps to try to bully and scare the people of Ireland into a tax they have overwhelmingly rejected. This country is still a democracy. It is unacceptable for any government to so blatantly oppose the will of the masses. Minister Howlin’s statement shows that he has forgotten that many of the people opposing the household charge voted him into government a little over a year ago on the promise of reform, growth and fairness.”

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